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Park(ing) Day Organizer Arrested in Miami

10:55 AM EDT on September 19, 2011

Park(ing) Day is supposed to be a creative demonstration of how public space, properly utilized, can bring communities closer. How the vast amount of urban space dedicated to parking vehicles erodes urban environments and limits opportunities for interaction.

But that message was lost on police in Miami, Florida last week.

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After a successful and fun-filled Park(ing) Day demonstration, Miami's finest arrested organizer Brad Knoefler for "failing to obey a lawful demand."

Tony Garcia at Network blog Transit Miami has this report:

Working in collaboration with the Miami Parking Authority, we transformed 10 on-street parking spaces into a tree-lined, shaded park, complete with movable chairs, and a solar-powered mobile wifi hot-spot where folks were hard at work. Railroad ties refashioned as bollards, and native trees in movable planters formed the street edge, causing a noticeable shift in driving patterns along the 3-lane, southbound street. “North Miami Avenue usually feels like a highway,” said local resident Rosa Gutierrez, “people routinely go 60 mph here – you never see traffic this calm.”

Enter Officer Rodriguez, who decided that the Park(ing) Day cleanup (the following day) was not going fast enough and decided to arrest co-sponsor Brad Knoefler for failing to obey a lawful command (read: police harassment). “Officer Rodriguez called me several times on my cell demanding that I come down and finish cleaning immediately,” said Knoefler. “I told him that not cleaning up 100% after an event is not an arrestable offense, at worst it’s a code violation or solid waste ticket.”

The City of Miami police, and all citizens of Miami, should be embarrassed that this happened. How can we expect to attract and keep the creative middle-class that contributes to a healthy economy, if the police harass and intimidate citizens as they try to enrich their communities?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Austin on Two Wheels delivers a sermon on the role of equity in our car-dominated transportation system. And Portland Transport regrets the fact that TriMet's board is appointed by the governor of Oregon rather than popularly elected.

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